Most Bioshock fans have already finished their first run through of the game. By doing this, you have unlocked the fabled 1999 mode, a mode that Ken Levine has described as incredibly hard. According to Irrational, 1999 mode was going to require combat honing, weapon specializing and resource management. They thought it was going to take a lot of mental effort to muddle your way through. I can assure you, 1999 mode is not as hard as you might have heard. Well, that is if you listen to me right now. I’m going to share with you 5 key tips that make 1999 mode feel like child’s play. Trust me, you’re gonna need them.
In a mode where health is low, resources are limited and saves are scarce, how you use the games various upgrade systems are key. Mainly how you use the Infusion bottles. As you already know, you have the option to upgrade health, shield capacity and salts. One may be thinking “Oh no! Which ones should I upgrade?!”, but the decision isn’t that hard. My suggestion is to go for shield capacity and health. In my most recent 1999 mode run, I fully upgraded both salts and shield capacity (filling up shield first). This extra salt capacity did me next to no good, considering vigors are almost useless when compared to using a gun. With your life being so low, running into a group of enemies and using Bucking Bronco is no longer a valid strategy, considering you will do less damage and most likely get jumped by other enemies. The best strategy is by using long ranged gunplay, which means you want to have a lot of health and shield capacity. This way, since the enemies have crazy good accuracy, you can absorb the few shots that do manage to make it through. It may be smart to put 1 or 2 upgrades into salts, but that’s only if you prefer to use them. You can definitely make it through better with max health and max shield. Plus you can thank me when you get to the final battle…vigors do no good on that one.
2.) Weapon Specialization
If you haven’t taken Ken Levine’s words seriously yet, you prolly should. Weapon specialization is going to be a huge part of 1999 mode. Personally, I think the best main combo you should use is any combination of the carbine, sniper rifle and hand cannon. They are by far the best weapons in Bioshock Infinite. The sniper rifle is perfect for long range combat, the hand cannon is great for close combat and the carbine can double for whichever you are in need of. While there will definitely be situations where you have to switch out and use a different weapon, I suggest keeping those three within range at all times. It will make battle sequences much easier. Now for weapon upgrades. You may think that weapon upgrades may play an integral role in 1999 mode, but you are wrong. In my most recent 1999 mode run, I made it through the entire game without buying any weapon upgrades. I think it is a much better strategy to save your money for dying (you have to give up $100 every time you die and if you don’t have enough, you get booted to the title screen). The only weapon upgrade I suggest getting is both sniper rifle damage upgrades. The sniper is the best possible weapon for the final fight and getting both damage upgrades should make it possible to get a OHKO on all enemies (besides mechanized patriots) without a headshot. Trust me, that will make it much easier. Besides that, I definitely suggest just saving your money. It will help you later in the game when the battle sequences start getting crazy stupid.
Yes, this section is going to be devoted to handymen. While handymen may not have seemed like such a hard opponent in normal mode, they are terrifying on 1999 mode. I don’t think I faced any harder fights than the handymen fights when I played through. Beating them is difficult, but definitely do-able if you know what to do. Let’s get to that. One of the first things you have to do is figure out his movements and patterns. Each handyman fight has a way of movement that can be used to manipulate them and deal damage without getting hurt too bad. This is mainly done by running around in circles. By running away, you can usually create enough space between you and them to get a bit of damage in before you turn around and run away again. This may seem tedious, but fighting them head on is impossible. They deal far too much damage compared to what you deal to them to make that a valid strategy. Using the rails is also a great strategy for creating space between you and them. Spacing is key. Next: what weapons are best for taking out handymen? Not RPGs, that’s what. Do not even try using RPGs against them, it won’t work. It doesn’t deal near as much damage as you would think. Repeating weapons are the best way to go. Mainly, I suggest using either the carbine or the volley gun. These can deal constant damage (if you hit them) and seems to be the most effective in actually making a change in their life bar. The hand cannon also does pretty well. You could also use the crank gun to deal maximum damage, but there’s not usually one of them lying around. Whatever you do, don’t use vigors in this fight. They have no effect on handymen (or at least in any way that is useful). So basically, run and gun with weapons that have a fast fire rate and good power. Elizabeth should keep you pretty well stocked on ammo, too.
Oh man, was the siren fight ever a pain in the ass during 1999 mode. Luckily, the first two fights can be skipped if you die enough. After between 5-8 deaths, the siren will disappear and you will be able to leave. After that comes the final confrontation. You can go in the first time with whatever strategy you want, but you will most likely die. Lucky for you, there is a fool-proof strategy to beat the siren in around 15 seconds. Are you ready? Okay. First off, go ahead and equip gear that ups melee damage. Mostly, you just need to have burning halo equipped. Other than that, whatever gear you have that ups melee damage. Second, go ahead and equipt the charge vigor. This will still work if you have put no upgrades into it. Thirdly, run up to where you meet the siren. As she is about to raise the dead, charge your vigor. The moment she becomes vulnerable to damage, release your vigor. This should deal massive damage to not only her but should kill whoever she just brought back. Repeat this till she dies. It may take more than one try, but the strategy definitely works. Once she gets past that first round of revivals, it’s all over for you. Make sure you dispose of them before she can do it again. Once you do this 3-5 times, you should be able to walk away happy that you defeated the siren. Good job. You did a good job.
5.) The Final Fight
I know you have been dreading this fight on 1999 mode from the moment you had to do it on normal mode. I know I was. It’s such a poorly designed fight that it’s not even funny. After a few deaths you may think it’s impossible, but it isn’t. You just have to know how to go about it. Here’s what I personally suggest when approaching this fight. First off, equip a sniper rifle and a shotgun (both weapons should be located on the upper deck). Attach gear that has to do with skylines (invulnerability when killing from skylines, 30% damage boost when on skylines, reloading when jumping off skylines, etc). During the first part of the fight, stick mainly to the skylines. Slow yourself down and get a bunch of head-shots on all the human enemies. This is a very easy thing to do and you shouldn’t take much damage considering they are all paying attention to damaging the ship. Take down the barges before you take care of ships. Barges can deal much more damage than individual enemies. When the RPG enemies come, bucking bronco them and shoot them off the ship with your shotgun or a melee attack. Both will send them flying and stop you from having to deal with them. The fight ramps in difficulty when the motorized patriots come out. I suggest taking out all the enemies with an RPG (located on the upper deck), then when the patriots are focussed on the tower, take one out. Then take out the other with the crank gun the first one drops. Repeat this until you destroy all the blimps. It might take a few tries, just like the siren fight, but it’s one of the best strategies when going into the final fight. Just keep trying. You will beat it eventually.
See? Bioshock Infinite’s 1999 mode isn’t that hard. There are clear strategies for beating the major fights and minor things to get you through everything leading up to them. I think Ken Levine was being a little over dramatic when he was stating how difficult it was going to be. I only cried 2 times while playing. These strategies I discussed may not give you automatic victory, but they certainly would have helped me if I would have known them before hand.
Good luck, Bookers alike. Remember, if you can’t do it, I guess you just suck at the game!